|Posted by M Starr on July 14, 2018 at 7:15 AM||comments (0)|
After a full spring of reflection I have decided to not do any more local craft shows, either organizing or participating. This is a decision that was difficult for me but I am OK with it now. It had become a true effort for me and it just didn't seem like fun anymore. I spent the last 6 months going through my studio cleaning and purging. How the heck do we accumulate so much STUFF! Always looking for the next big trend, buying the stuff, making it and then trying to get it sold. I had spent way too much money and time in those ventures, and as we crafter/artisans know, you can't make money on doing crafts. Well, I am about 85% done with the whole process and feeling pretty good about it. I have sold machines and craft supplies that I would never use again, gave away yarns to a local charity and trashed a whole lot more than I expected. I am embarassed to say that I had containers in my studio that hadn't been touched in at least 10 years so I knew the stuff was not going to be used in the future. OMG I had become a "CRAFT HOARDER"! It started out feeling like I was tossing/selling a little piece of myself but then slowly realized, it is Just STUFF!.. and STUFF does not make a person.
Last year was particularly taxing for me, mentally and physically, so I have decided to put my time and effort into building my online presence. To be honest, that is how this all started many years ago..I worked when I wanted,...knit, listed and sold, I was making and selling dog sweaters on Ebay. I liked that, seriously, didn't have to deal with anyone face to face. I had a great customer following and people waited for me every weekend to list the sweaters of the week and sometimes the bidding was nuts. It was fun and was true validation of how much they appreciated my work. Actually I heard from a woman that had purchased many sweaters from me over 15 years ago and she still wears them on her dogs. They held up extremely well. That was nice to hear. I am not sure how well the sales would go on Ebay anymore as the asian market has invaded it and are selling stuff so cheap that it is really not worth listing there anymore. So like I said.. I will be making and listing on this site. I will have in-stock and will probably be taking special orders (although very limited)
With all that being said, this site will undergo a slight name change. The True North will remain but I will change the Knitting part to something that will reflect all I do. So watch for the new name change which will coming shortly. I will be doing some more designing (which is what I love to do) as well as using up my yarns to produce hats, headbands, dog sweaters.... you name it. I just need to get back to what started all this for me. I love knitting and crochetting and I plan to spend the fall and winter doing what I love and taking care of ME. When I decided the patterns that I will concentrate on I will then work and sell what I have made.
And on that note I will end today's blog and continue revamping and cleaning up my site. And of course some more searching through my patterns to decide what I am going to concentrate on. And YES I am a pattern hoarder as well. I have so many folders that it will take me forever to make up a favorite folder for me to work from. Seriously, quit laughing ,,,,, you know you do it as well.. haha
|Posted by M Starr on February 23, 2018 at 9:55 AM||comments (0)|
Sock Monkey items have become a passion for me. I have dug out my mothers hand written pattern for making the Newfoundland or what we call Caper Mittens and have decided to make them in the sock monkey colours. So much fun!... The whole thing is to try to decifer the handwriting and her assumption that you can figure out the pattern.. hahahaha. She made then many moons ago and basically just wrote down the Readers digest condensed version for her own use. Now it is up to me to figure out what she is trying to say in the pattern.. I Spent a few days figuring it out and writing it down so I can make the pattern for resale. Done.. Now I am making a mitten to make sure that what I have written down is actually going to work out!. I am up to the thumb part now, so it is time to take a break and have some lunch and then settle back down to complete the pattern.
Here is a picture of what I have done so far
The thumb will be solid grey as well as the top of the mitten
I will be putting the pattern up for sale as soon as it is tested
|Posted by M Starr on October 8, 2015 at 11:40 AM||comments (2)|
I know it has been a while but I have been super busy getting ready for the fall craft shows in my area. I did however do some searching online for help with my addi machine. I came across a video that tells us to grease your addi machine. Now I have put another post earlier about the silicone spray (jigaloo) for it but I was not happy with the performance of it so I took my machine apart again and washed every needle and casing. That was a royal pain in the butt but I figured.. hey why not try this next fix. She had a video saying what she used but not how to do it so as I was greasing my machine this morning I decided to take some pictures as I was going along.
I went to the local hardware store and bouth some white lithium grease by Permatex. I read on the label that it was safe for just about anything so I figured.. yup.. good to go.
I started by removing the outer black ring that was holding the red plastic ring in place. I gently removed the red ring that holds the needles securely in place.. phew.. ok that was easy
Once I got the black inner ring off ever so gently I then started putting the white grease on each side of every needle. Just a squirt (there is no need to put a lot as this little dab goes a long way.
After I finished with all of the needles on the bottom it was suggested that a bit of grease be put at the top of the needle as well. At this point why not! I was fully committed to greasing this machine as I was tired of all the noise it was making when I knit.
At this point I was done greasing the inside of the machine and was ready to put it back together.
Again , carefully fit the black inner ring back over the needles making sure you line up the indent for the counter rows. You will understand that part as seriously it will not screw down until you line everything up the way it should be. At this point look to see if any seepage is happening around the joins and carefully wipe it off with a soft cloth so the grease does not get on your yarn.
Now carefully line up the red ring so the #1 slot fits over the first black needle. This takes a bit of gentle movement as you slip the red ring over the needles. Be careful not to force anything because after all the needles are plastic and will break if treated roughly.
crank the handle and let it go around a couple of times without any yarn on the needles. At this point look for any splatter of grease and wipe it off. I used a Qtip and a soft cloth from this point on.
Now is the time to put some yarn on the machine but only scrap yarn! Knit around 30 rows. You will notice that the grease is coming out on the yarn. hence that is why you use the scrap yarn that you can toss away when you are done.
keep working to remove the excess grease as you knit the 30 rows.
Now remove the scrap work off your machine and toss it away. Once it is off you will see some excess grease. Don’t worry, just wipe it off and you are DONE!…
Now the lady said that sometimes she uses Bond Knit easy spray for the top of the needles for extra lubrication, but I cannot find it here in Canada so at this point my machine is done and ready to work.
Thanks to Suzy Notting and Jack for giving us the video explaining how she greased her machine
you can find her on youtube "theanswerladyknits"
So I am off to make a few more hats for the upcoming shows.
|Posted by M Starr on January 26, 2015 at 12:25 AM||comments (2)|
I saw a post on facebook today that really hit a sore spot with me. It is time for me to vent and express exactly what I think about knitting and Crocheting for craft shows and selling online.
This is the picture that got me going.
Now how flipping true is this. I will begin by telling my story.
15 years ago I decided I needed to make a bit of extra cash. Newly divorced ,,,trying to make it in the real world was not totally working out the way that was comfortable for me. So I decided to start knitting dog sweaters with a pattern that had been designed by a good friend. After many tries I got the design to work for the sweaters I was trying to create. For the first year I barely slept. The dog sweaters really took off and I was trying to build my customer base so it got to the point where I was not turning anyone down and I sat up for hours at night making and shipping these sweaters. I nearly drove myself into the grave doing this but I got a very loyal customer base that kept coming back for more sweaters. A few years went by and the economy took a bit of a nose dive and the knitting business slowed down (as did I). I had knit so much that it was not fun anymore. So I put the needles away to take a well deserved break. Well a few years later I decided to start up again only to realize there was a whole new batch of customers with different mentalities. You know those customers.. "What? you are not going to drop everything and make a sweater for me for $5?" They could not understand why I was charging what I was charging for these sweaters.. Unbeknownst to them I had done a bit of a trial knitting session. I took my yarn.. (cost me $5) and sat down for the day. It took me 5 hours to complete a sweater to fit a yorkie or a pug. from start to finish. So.. if you figure out the yarn cost $5.00 plus 5 hours of labour at minimum wage ..$10.00 x 5 =$50.00 plus yarn $5.00 for the total cost of making this original design sweater $55.00. Now I realize you never get that for a sweater but seriously, people were complaining when I would charge $12 or $15 in my listings. Seriously? that would be labour at $2 per hour. Would you work anywhere for that amount?I think NOT!
So at that point I had decided to write up my pattern. That in itself is labour intensive. Each pattern has to have a sample sweater knit for the pattern itself, as well as the expertise to put it into a design and make it as user friendly as you possibly can. Like I have said about this new mentality. No one wants to purchase just a pattern anymore, They want a full tutorial with pictures (again more labour intensive than it is worth) . So now I have several patterns listed on my website and each year I have the plan to add 2 new patterns to the list.
So as the story continues, lately I have been trying to purge some of my yarns buy making hats and mittens. Again, same thing.. I made some wonderful chunky knit sock monkey type mittens for the fall craft show. Had them listed for $15 a set. People just looked and checked the price and moved on. Seriously.. if you want a pair of $2 mittens go to the dollar store or Walmart. Do not insult me by saying that $15 is too much for a pair of hand knit thick mittens that took me days to knit. So again this past craft show season left me a bit deflated, like the Patriots footballs. I am tired of knitting (which is an art in itself) and having people turn their noses up at my prices. I swear I am going to put a huge poster behind me telling people the breakdown of work done by hand knitters or crocheters. But I am sure this will just go over their heads as this is a society of non appreciative shoppers that expect everything for nothing. It is so disheartening.
So I will just keep knitting to use up the yarn I have for now , knitting for the church to give to needy families and when I get tired of that I will donate my yarn to a good cause. Until the appreciation turns around again I will no longer be practically giving my knit and crochet items away for the price that people expect anymore. I am worth more than that, I am a professional hand knitter (or at least semiprofessional ) and I am worth more than $2.00 an hour. and good god I will never do socks because the yarn for socks cost almost $30 plus the hours put into it. I read somewhere on some other blog saying that (and get this)!!!!! it takes as long and uses as many stitches to knit a pair of socks as it does to Knit a ladies sweater!.. Just sit back and think of that for a few minutes,, let it sink in.. amazing huh?.
With that being said. I am done for the day. That is my only and last vent about prices for knitwear.
Just remember.. when you see someone's beautiful work displayed for sale, you now know how many hours of love went into each piece. If you don't want to purchase it, at least tell them how nice it is. Do not grumble about the price because more than likely is it priced way lower than it should be. If you don't knit then you have no idea the amount of time and money that went into each carefully made item. We truly love what we do.
|Posted by M Starr on January 5, 2015 at 7:00 PM||comments (0)|
hristmas has come and gone and I thought I was going to slow down some.......Nope.. I decided to keep reducing my stash for the past few weeks. Well that is all fine and good but my mistake was posting pictures on facebook. I started doing extra thick hats (double strand worsted weight). Well the first one I did was dark purple. It turned out really pretty. I figured.. ok I will just knit and put them in my rubbermaid tote for next season... nope.. Several people jumped on the hats!!!..
the purple one was purchased and the lady ordered mittens to match.
purple double thick Hat and mittens
This is made with the bernat premium yarn. I absolutely love this yarn to work with but it is so difficult to find.
the tan and orange went to my Daughter who had an orange jacket, the light blue with navy went to my son in law. the purple on the right lower side went to my Daughter in law. All these were extra christmas gifts. Who doesn't like getting warm hats for christmas,, right?
Right now I am working on a medium grey hat with white and lavender and matching solid textured mittens to go with it.
grey double thick hat
The mittens are in production and I will come back and insert the finished project when they are completed.
What an awesome way to purge your stash !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
After this I will be making another purple set for someone that ordered it and then it will be on to a couple pairs of worsted weight socks I think.
I am having fun mixing and matching colours and since I have this pattern in my webstore you too can purge and have fun mixing and matching.
As for the mittens the pattern is from drops designs (sorta) they are called Astrid Mittens.
Well I am off to work some more on the mittens white the cats snuggle and try to keep warm on this windy day in the Maritimes